Chinese New Year is the biggest festival of the year for Chinese communities around the world and there’s a special air of anticipation for 2012: Year of the Dragon.
The dragon is the only mythical creature among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and often thought of as the most important sign. In Chinese tradition, those born in Dragon years are brave, innovative and highly driven. Famous ‘Dragon’ people include Bill Clinton, Bruce Lee and Salvador Dali.
Cities and towns across the UK will be welcoming in the Year of the Dragon. Chinese New Year starts falls on 23 January 2012 but celebrations take place over 15 days, so there’s plenty of opportunity to join in:
Sunday 29 Jan, 11.30 – 5.30pm, Arcadian Centre, FREE
Dragon dances, acrobatic performances and Kung Fu demonstrations are just some of the cultural entertainment on offer. Plus traditional firecrackers, market stalls, food and children’s rides.
Sunday 29 Jan, 10 – 6pm, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Chinatown, FREE
300,000 people joined in the celebrations last year. Celebrations this year kick off with a New Year’s Parade at 10am, around the West End, arriving at Trafalgar Square at 12pm, for the official opening ceremony.
Traditional and contemporary Chinese entertainment in Trafalgar Square including firecrackers, Dragon dancing, music and performances. Plus lion dance displays, cultural stalls and food in Chinatown and Shaftesbury Avenue will host performances from a range of local community groups and schools.
Sunday, 29 Jan, 11am – 7pm, Chinatown and Albert Square, FREE
A whole day’s celebrations with a high pole lion dance performance, kung fu demonstrations, stalls and spectacular fireworks.
A Variety Show by the Chinese Art Troupe is also being held on Friday, 27 Jan for at the Manchester Central Exchange Auditorium.
Various, building up to Sunday, 29 Jan, Highfields Park, Lakeside Arts Centre, FREE
A build of events across the city – lion dances, dragon boat training, processions, cultural performances – culminating in a spectacular celebration on 29 Jan at Highfields Park, with dragon dancing and the fireworks finale.
Wherever you’re celebrating, Your Holiday Planner wishes you “Kung Hei Fat Choi”, a very happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon.